I finally finished memorizing my memory verse from last week. Philippians 1:18 took me a little longer than Philippians 1:21 and Genesis 12:2-3, but I'm confident that I've got it now. In case you don't have a good method that works for you for memorizing Scripture, here's a glimpse into what I do, in case it may be of use to you. Once God's given me my verse for the week I write it down at the top of a page in my journal. When I copy it down, I'm careful to read and remember one phrase at a time, and then write that phrase down from memory, rather than just copying word for word as I go and not retaining any of the verse. Then every time I sit down that week to journal, get in the Word, make grocery or meal planning lists etc. I turn back to that page and re-copy the memory verse. Doing as much from memory as I can, and again glancing at phrases when needed, rather than copying each word one at a time. Usually by 3-5 times of doing this I'll have a short verse memorized, and by 5-10 for a longer verse. I've also been going back towards the end of each week, and having myself write out the prior 2 weeks memory verses from memory. I feel like this is helping me to retain the verses that I recently memorized, and I feel like this is a big piece that has been missing for me in the past and is why I would forget a memory verse a month or so after I memorized it.
Now for the verse for this week...
Accountability has been a reocurring theme for me over the past week. It came up and was a big topic of conversation in our Wednesday night (mixed gender) community group. Then although it wasn't really a part of our weekly material for our Saturday morning ladies Bible study it came up again there. After that I decided that God was trying to tell me something and that I needed to listen. I'm so impressed by the way that God is working in our ladies Bible study! He's taken a group of mostly strangers, and has brought us to a place of unity, vulnerability, and accountability in Him. He's led us to share our struggles, and used us to speak Truth and breathe encouragement and refreshment into each other's lives. I love witnessing how He shows up and speaks to us each Saturday, it is truly awesome! This week both me and another woman were able to share areas that we needed accountability in, and instantly had sisters in Christ volunteering to stand up, challenge us, live life with us, and ask us the tough questions that we'll need to follow Jesus in obedience. AWESOME! Accountability is hard, it's humbling, it requires being vulnerable. Our fleshly instinct is to want to hide our sin (much like Adam and Eve did in the garden). We want to deal with it on our own, we don't want to admit that we can't do it on our own. We think it is risky to open ourselves up. I'd wager that it's more risky to keep our sin in the dark, and let the devil have a foot hold over us. The fruit that comes through accountability is amazing. The reminder that we can't do anything in our own strength, but only through the strength of Christ. Seeing Him work through the church (not the building), His body, to minister to the needs of others is beautiful.
As I was reflecting and praying about accountability the Lord gave me this passage;
Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 Two are better than one because they have a good return for their labor. For if either of them falls, the one will lift up his companion. But woe to the one who falls when there is not another to lift him up. Furthermore, if two lie down together they keep warm, but how can one be warm alone? And if one can overpower him who is alone, two can resist him. A cord of three strands is not quickly torn apart.
I'm going use Ecclesiastes 4:12 as my memory verse for the week, but I just wanted to note it here in the context of the preceding few verses.
I've linked to these accountability questions in the past, but I can't express how much of a blessing these questions have been to my life, and how much I love these short, simple, yet CHALLENGING questions and think that they should be a regular part of accountability for every Christian. I also love the focus of the brochure on "smaller groups", and having less lines of communication so that more sharing, accountability, and ultimately growth can take place. Find an accountability partner and ask each other these questions, it will change your walk with the Lord! (I promise that I was not given any reward for endorsing this ministry, I just strongly believe in what they are doing... okay, mini-advertisement over).
Lord, thank you for giving me other strands that my cord may be strengthened. Use me as a strand in the lives of others, to strengthen them where needed. Thank you for the gift of community, and fellowship in you Lord. Help me to enjoy those gifts, but not getting so caught up in them that I neglect living among the lost, and boldly sharing your Gospel and love with those in need. I love you Jesus!
For all of you who are my "strands" (you know who you are) I am so grateful for you!